January 26, 2017 Subject:
Famously duffed run
according to many observers - including the band. Yet described as perfectly transcendent to those that attended. Jer said they blew it. Indeed, this final night isn't in the top half of '78 shows. But it's better than the previous nights and has historical weight (even occurring during a full lunar eclipse). For the Egypt-curious this is the show to reference, but if you are looking for late Summer '78, by all means try 8/30 & 8/31 first. The band entourage was documented as being rather loose and care-free - it's a vacation, and that comes through. Donna and several others sound like they've been up for days - accurately so. Renditions are unique in some respects and it was a supreme test on the crew and logistics men to pull this off - even after a year of preparation, paperwork, shmoozing, etc. After a couple misfire shows, this one's not; but it is a below-average show for '78.
First Set. Sound problems plague Bertha and they struggle to tighten up - though mostly successfully. The official version has 30sec cut (the SBDs less). Bobby leads a spot-on segue into Good Lovin', but it's a wash on poor monitors and 5min in it trainwrecks, along with Camel lyrics and Bobby's assumption that he's in a polygamist culture. It's still a bit flubby and loose for Candyman. Like much of the show, the tempo starts brisk but slows way down by the end. It comes together for Looks Like Rain. Jer's solo is astonishing. Donna is great. 5min in, Jer stops playing and waves Billy down, but it doesn't effect anything, until the end when Bobby signals the final chord and Jer protests with a single note repetition - though it just makes it unique. Who knows why the set is all out of order on Cradle, but Row Jimmy is the opposite of Rain, with Jer better than Bobby's Slide Practice™. It gets better and better; and that's classic Dead. I dig how Jer played El Paso in '78. His ping-ponging solo in Ramble mostly makes up for the flubby-sloppy. Leaving 'em happy, it comes together again for the last two, starting with an ace Minglewood. After a Spring Song tuning it's a screamer of a Deal with delicious playing from Jer. Some might consider the ending great and others might say you had to be there. Donna and Bobby try to stop, keep signalling, Jer keeps teasing them out, stretching the ending for 3 minutes of overkill, until he acquiesces with two upstrokes.
Second Set. Mickey and Billy had set up a practice before backing Nubian oudist Hamza El Din, whose song was probably fine in person. The DVD shows the second half of the performance and there are two, differently-edited versions on Cradle and Shakedown (bonus). After a rough start, Fire on the Mountain is otherwise okay, but again the tempo grinds down. The next few are average - Jer calls out for "I Need a Pyramid". Who doesn't? Every day. It's the 4th one and is played much better than the night before ("thrill me to the marrow at a midnight rendezvous"). Sunrise is the last ever, so too bad there's no SBD; it has a nice Jer eruption. The rest of the set is better, starting with a good Shakedown. The official version of Drums is the most bizarrely chopped of any release. There are 10 edits! Using the Miller timings: @0:21( jumps to 2:21), @2:40 (to 2:52), @3:08 (3:35), @4:09( 4:18), @4:32 (4:50), @5:14 (5:24), @5:25 (5:58), @6:49 (6:55), @6:58 (7:04) & @7:42 (10:40). On Cradle, the same edits are at 0:25, 0:44, 0:57, 1:22, 1:32, 2:01, 2:04, 2:43, 2:48 & 3:17. WTF? What is the point of six-second cuts? It's perhaps more interesting than other '78s, as is Space, in the year it evolved, and much better than the first two nights. The latter is also chopped on Cradle with four strange edits: 2:31 removed from the start and then cuts at 0:57, 1:02 & 1:34. On the miller these are: @ 0:10 (jumps to 2:41), @3:39 (to 3:51), @3:57 (4:10) & @4:41 (5:36). It's a sorta bland Truckin' but Stella is redeemed by a beautiful solo. The final two songs are tight enough, but the band sounds exhausted.
1st Set: C+ 2nd Set: C-
Overall = 2½ stars
Looks Like Rain - Bobby's peak; Jer amazing; Donna good
Minglewood Blues - sounded great in 78; this one too
Deal - Jer burst
14th = D
15th = D
16th = C
SOURCES: The miller.88314 is the best SBD. All but four tracks are on Rocking the Cradle (although two only as small samples). It runs a bit slow (though noticeable) and needs +1% pitch correction. The seems to be true of all the SBDs as well (including the miller.88314). The FOB from Schall is the best source for the AUD-only Sunrise. The Tobin matrix is pitch-corrected and has the complete Bertha.
June 3, 2010 Subject: